Feb 20, 2019

The Walmart juggernaut

A busy Friday night, decades ago. Photo: Steve Liss/LIFE/Getty

As Amazon's market power has sunk big box stores left and right, Walmart seemed next in line for a big hit. But the 56-year-old legacy retailer has been surprisingly nimble as it stares down the formidable everything store.

Driving the news: Walmart today easily beat earnings expectations for Q4 of 2018, giving its stock a 5% boost at one stage. The company reported a whopping 43% year-over-year increase in online sales — for the second quarter in a row.

Backdrop: When Walmart and its big box peers were struggling to compete with Amazon, Walmart took risks by pouring money into sprucing up its stores and spending big to acquire Jet.com, the e-commerce business.

  • The company took a temporary hit to invest in itself, says Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail. And now it's paying off.

What's next: In a note to investors, Moody's analyst Charlie O'Shea said he expects Walmart to keep dominating retail in 2019. The company will "continue to flex its muscle across multiple product categories," he said.

Go deeper: Walmart, the anti-Amazon

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The rematch of the century

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The weekend's biggest sporting event is Wilder-Fury II, which despite its name is not an action movie sequel starring Jean-Claude Van Damme but, rather, a boxing match starring arguably the two best heavyweights in the world.

The backdrop: In their first meeting in December 2018, Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury put on a memorable show at Staples Center, with Fury surviving a brutal right hand in the 12th round to earn a split-decision draw.

Pro-Trump warrior takes the helm of U.S. intelligence

Richard Grenell in Berlin. Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

By picking Ambassador Richard Grenell to be acting director of national intelligence, President Trump has slotted a pro-Trump warrior into the ultimate apolitical role.

What they're saying: James Clapper, the longest-serving DNI (2010-2017), tells Axios it's "very worrisome installing a partisan with no real intelligence experience in this position."

Coronavirus kills 2 Diamond Princess passengers as Israel confirms first case

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. U.S. numbers include Americans extracted from Princess Cruise ship.

Two elderly Diamond Princess passengers have been killed by the novel coronavirus — the first deaths confirmed among the more than 600 infected aboard the cruise ship — as Israel confirmed its first case among evacuees from the ship.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed more than 2,200 people and infected over 76,000 others, mostly in mainland China, where the National Health Commission announced 118 new deaths since Thursday.

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